If you think of German films, perhaps Wolfgang Petersen’s war film “Das Boot” (1981) comes to mind. Surely you will remember the claustrophobic narrowness of the submarine that gave the film its title. If that narrowness is something you dare to experience yourself, the U-434 in Hamburg harbour unlocks its hatches for the public on every day of the week.
The Soviet-built boat that lies in front of the Fischmarkt market hall is still fully operational and afloat. However, instead of going on underwater missions, it has remained in Hamburg since 2002. Today it serves as a museum dedicated to the horrors of war, although presumably, the U-434 itself hasn’t seen much actual fighting. It was built in 1976, well after WWII: the historical background of “Das Boot”.
The Tango-class sub is also a lot bigger than the U-91 that we know from the film. In fact, at 90.16 metres, it is among the longest non-atomic submarines in the world. If you consider that 78 men had to cram into the ship, that still takes a lot of space-saving. On your tour through the boat, you can bear witness to the narrow crew’s quarters, the officers’ mess, as well as the engine and torpedo rooms. It is highly recommended to take the guided tour for background information and an exclusive trip to the ship’s bridge. The ship is tied to the bottom of the Elbe river, so that the tides will give you a good idea of submerging and surfacing maneuvers.
U-Bootmuseum Hamburg GmbH
St. Pauli Fischmarkt 10, 20359 Hamburg
0049 +40 3200 4934
Mon ─ Sat 9 a.m. ─ 8 p.m.
Sun 11 a.m. ─ 8 p.m.
It is not advisable to visit the submarine in case of physical disabilities or claustrophobic conditions. Wheelchairs cannot be used due to a lack of space.